July 16, 2017

Pointers for Newly Grads (and Not-So-Newly Grads)

Graduation Day with my Blockmates (March 26, 2010 DLSU-Dasmariñas)

"If you want something to hold on to, you have to have it first". And for you newly grads, you've just earned it, congratulations! They kept on telling you months before the ceremonies that "you'll soon be part of the real world", and before you knew it, you're already in it. The thing is, what is the real world? How do you take on it?

The real world is a world that is solely your own. A place where you can be whatever you want to be-with just one simple condition, you have to work for it. It doesn't always involve spending an 8-10 hour daily shifts at the office, or month-long preparations to land a starting point to a career path. Sometimes, the struggles that are in between are the ones you have to do extra work on. Surely there will be moments like "I got hired! But do I really want this job?" or "I hate this company, but is there something about this place that will help me get through to the next level?", such trade-offs and contradictions that honestly has struck our minds and my heart probably a hunderd times.

I know I'm not in a position to tell you how to be successful, for neither I am not at this moment. But as I write this, I guess I can tell you how I saw this journey and how I am seeing it now as I go through it. Here are a few tips I can share as we go through it together:

Set an ultimate goal for yourself.

On a deep chat conversation with my cousin Carmeline - a lawyer and somebody who I look up to as one of my mentors, she told me that "Everything ends and begins with your solid desire". One should be clear as to what he/she wants. Then, you push yourself towards that direction. Not always easy, she exclaimed, but you will make it. My drama king self still gets a tear or two every time I read what she said.

Ate Carm also told me that one should not be afraid of moving from a job to another. Because after all, it's not really quitting, it's calibrating your map towards that one specific goal. It may take you two or three of five jobs to finally get to your goal, but in the end, the sweetness of being in and living that dream is definitely rewarding. So as long as you don't have that goal, you'll just be floating in a big pool of a life with no reason. If you still don't have that dream, look for it, reflect, explore. It was my 27th birthday when she told these words to me which made me realise how I've been living my life without that ultimate goal. Now that I found my ultimate goal (a month after our conversation), I realise how scary it was not to have it.

Mistakes makes us smarter, makes us stronger. 

You've probably heard this one from a thousand people a million times over and over again. But to tell you, it's true. As of now to be honest, I can't consider myself as someone who is strong. I think I have made just a few mistakes in school, in life, in work. Not because I'm smart or I'm good at things, but it's because I'm afraid to try.

On a film I watched starring Shirley Maclaine, her character Harriet said that "We should all fall on our face". We've all been there right? Even if it's about school, or with love, or with life as we know it, we've all tripped and landed face down. For me, those moments aren't to be erased or be forgotten for those are the times where slips leave a mark where we least want it, thus will always make us remember how we made it through on such misfortunes.

Be Fearless. 

I'm not telling you to yell at your manager for being unfair, or join that interest group at work that teaches you how to ride a motorcycle with blindfolds on. Being fearless requires a strong heart that can resonate within yourself that "You can be whatever you want to be".

The world is very accepting right now. Your degree may be in finance, but the world of fashion awaits you just as long as you take that chance. A framed "Bachelor of Science in Computer Science" diploma can actually be a ticket to being one of the best Geographers in the world. If you're college course led you to a path that you really wanted, then good for you! But if not, it's not the end of the world for us millennials. We're young, we're fearless, we can make it happen, I trust in you!

Go back to school. Learn further, farther. 

Some of us dread school and for a lot of graduates, the only thing they miss about going to uni are their classmates and friends, never the schooling process. But I tell you, if you really want to go far, Graduate School may be your magic carpet to that palace in the clouds you are longing for. I spent a year in Master's but yes, I did well during my time but still, I stopped.

At first, I thought graduate school is not for me but then I realise, I'm just taking the wrong course, the wrong field. So right now do I want to go to Graduate School? By all means, Yes! But this time, I'll follow not what's required of me, but what field my heart really wants in, what my mind wants to learn more about. Oh I imagine how learning is when you're studying something you are passionate about.

You have to deserve it. 

I got this on a ride home from Manila with my cousin Caren Viniegra, who is also like most of you (yes you, reader!) who just graduated college and will be entering Law school. She got this statement from one of her older sisters Carmina (Carmeline is their eldest sister, how can you not love these siblings?). Caren told me that no matter how smart you are or how capable you are of doing something, if you don't work hard for it, then it will not be given to you. You have to earn it. When she said this, it sent me shivers.

There were times when I had this silent overconfidence within myself, about myself. On a job application as a corporate auditor for a prestigious airline company, I can say I did well every interview by showing them who I am, but I did not end up having the position. To be honest, the fact that I reached that fifth and final interview despite having a different college degree and job experiences that are way too far than what the position requires, it makes me smile as I look back to it. through that experience, I realise that aside from the thought that maybe God wants me somewhere else than there, I did not land the job because I did not deserve it. Not because I'm not smart enough or I lack experience, but because I did not prepare enough.

If you want it, you have to deserve it. Earn it by working hard for it.


I haven't been to were I wanted to be, but I know it all depends on myself, and God of course, to be on that very place. Being there won't be as smooth for some as it is easier for others, but all the efforts, the risks, and the hard work will definitely payoff once you're there. But to "be there", remember, you have to dream, fail, stand up, learn, and deserve it.

Graduation Day (March 26, 2010 - DLSU-Dasmariñas)

Never Stop Pushing!

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